Jeez, that was, er scary – retro bike content!
I’ve just got back from a last minute organised few days in Chamonix, staying at a friends place and although we mostly just did the normal Touristy stuff in the valley, we did get out for a ride on some borrowed bikes. And, well, jeez, old bikes are rather scary when you get back on one after riding something a bit more modern! People like to say that modern bikes haven’t improved much, but by golly, after 3 hours on a bike with no dropper, 120 mm of stiff yet strangely un-damped suspension, tiny bars and hard narrow tyres, i was ready to call it a day…..
Bikes were 2008ish vintage full sus Trek and Cannondale, with hydraulic disc brakes and were expensive bikes at the time, but they were hilariously slow and skitish compared to my modern bike! Given a bit more time i might have started having fun, but for a short ride i was way too busy trying not to die on anything remotely techy……Posted 2 years ago
Are you trolling GW?Posted 2 years ago
Wash yer mouth out, only pre-97 counts as retro 😉
It is amusing how much bikes have developed in the last 5-6 years, let alone 10 or even 20 years.
Though to be fair, go and watch that retro freeriding doc ‘The Moment’ on Redbull TV and then come back and complain.Posted 2 years ago
2008 discs suspensionPosted 2 years ago
Retro ??? 🤣🤣🤣
Modern geometry, tyres, and suspension are really good shocker.
TBH with the gradual changes over the years it’s probably good to jump on a 10 year old bike sometimes to see how much all those small incremental changes have added up!Posted 2 years ago
yeah, certainly helped stop me taking the bike for granted when swinging a leg over my modern light, stiff carbon 180mm bike!
in someways, “retro” is perhaps more appropriate for application to stuff only 10 or so years old, because the recent(ish) slack/long revolution has changed the way a bike feels to ride completely, where as between say 1995 and 2005, sure, bikes got a bit more travel, got a shorter stem but really, if you put those bikes side by side, they would be broadly similar i thinkPosted 2 years ago
You appear to be comparing a 10 year old XC bike to modern trail bikes.
They had 160mm trail bikes in 2008. Try one of those and compare it to a modern equivalent.
The feeling is certainly evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
Then, if you’re feeling really adventurous, find a 160mm bike from 1998 and tell me where the revolution happened.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve done 30-odd years on 26″ wheels and only last year made the jump to a new 29″ xc bike. I was blown away. This year I’ve bought a new 27.5″ trail bike with “just” 120mm travel and mod cons like 1x and a dropper post. Genuinely blown away by how fast it is. The dropper has completely changed my riding – I’ve been missing out! I reckon if I’d had a new bike every couple of years for the last 15 or so, they wouldn’t feel any different. Jumping straight from a short, narrow Marin FS onto a brand new 29er was nothing short of a revelation. So if I keep these two for 15 years…Posted 2 years ago
Rode my 1995 Saracen mountain bike to to work the other day. 25mph on a smooth down hill road was twitchy. I can only imagine how little fun it would be on any kind of rock!Posted 2 years ago
Not buying it, Bruce. My old 2008 Spicy 516 ‘big bike’ was annihilated by my 2011 Zesty ‘XC/Trail bike’, never mind a 2015 Mega TR with a ‘new’ Pike instead of the stock Revs which laughed at both regardless of weighing about as much as a small moon.
Hardtails haven’t really seen a huge amount of development apart from getting gradually stronger and lighter at the nice end, until nu geo. Compare even a Mk5 and Mk4 Soul. Wheelsize aside, the Mk4 wouldn’t have been massively different apart from stronger and less springy than the original. The Mk5 is a totally different ride. FS bikes have seen proportionally more change over the last decade as suspension units and linkage designs have progressed massively.
Everything has come on a long way over the period the OP is talking about. Sure the older bikes ‘work’ but generally with a lot more effort on part of the rider I’d agree that it’s not normal to use ‘retro’ to describe 2008 vintage, but I get what he’s saying…Posted 2 years ago
Aye, I was over in Colorado for a while and riding a borrowed old GT full sus with a very long stem, narrow bars, triple chainset and roadie cassette, clunky forks, knackered shock, no dropper etc around the trails there and in Moab….
Quite a different experience than my normal bike which is pretty decent and up to date.Posted 2 years ago
Mostly the long stem and the crappy suspension. And the altitude!
Maybe the trick is to not try new bikes. Is it true that the faster you go the more fun you have and/or it’s better if it’s easier?Posted 2 years ago
Figuring out how to put 160mm on a bike and be able to pedal it uphill was the big step forward. My 2007 Nomad was jump up and down exciting at the time.
My new Giant Trance is fine but it’s not got me re-thinking what’s possible on a mountain bike.
As far as hardtails go, my 1997 Orange P7 doesn’t compare to my 2009 Dialled Alpine. I haven’t ridden an aggressive hardtail from the last few years but I can’t see how it’s going to be the step up the Alpine was.Posted 2 years ago
I had a ride on my mates vintage Cannondale hardtail (26″ V-brakes, headshock, tiny bars) today. It felt remarkably like my gravel bike.Posted 2 years ago
Wheelsize aside, the Mk4 wouldn’t have been massively different apart from stronger and less springy than the original.
Wheel size is a huge change though.Posted 2 years ago
My pre 2000 bikes are different and a challenge on a typical modern trail, especially when pointed down but they go up hill well. My modern trail/enduro bike is flipping impressive but needs old DH tracks to get exciting and not as much fun as my last gen hard tail. The one occasion I rode a ‘this gen hard tail’, I thought the angles were just too much of a compromise for all round riding but again impressive when it started downwards.Posted 2 years ago
As soon as I discovered how much slower and harder to ride my top spec 2007 XC bike was compared to my 29er on rocky climbs I binned it straight away.Posted 2 years ago
I went to Oz and rented a bike in Hunter Valley. It was utter utter shite; boat handling, gears that eventually change and heavy uphill. I felt I was sitting on perch rather than part of the bike. A gate with wheels!
To be fair it was a blast downhill. Made me appreciate modern tech. And after jogging 12 miles to the nearest town, I appreciated that bike the next day!Posted 2 years ago
Try a 89s bike with cantis and rigid
As soon as I discovered how much slower and harder to ride my top spec 2007 XC bike was compared to my 29er on rocky climbs I binned it straight away.
Was the wheel size the only difference?Posted 2 years ago
Wheel size is a huge change though.
Yep. Just gone back to an MTB after 5 years. Had a fairly light XC Ti 26″ back then with 72 degree headtube. Just bought a slackish (and heavy – 4+ KG heavier than old MTB) 29 hardtail with 2.4 tyres and over the last 4 weeks have beaten pretty much every time I ever did on the much lighter 26 (on all the segments where I have been trying)
Not only is the new slacker bike way faster on downhills it is also faster on single track and even very slightly faster uphill. The tyre size must be a big part of that as the heavier weight won’t be helping.Posted 2 years ago
It’s amazing how even ‘similar’ bikes have evolved. Ignoring long/slack fs bikes, my ‘92 xc race hardtail is a completely different animal to my current one.Posted 2 years ago
Perhaps the biggest surprise was how the older bikes completely failed to accomidate multiple, sequential inputs. The new stuff, on excellent modern suspension seems to just shrug off hits, recover and get on with it, whereas the bike i rode, which tbh, probably had dampers past their best despite being of good quality at the time (leftys were not cheap forks!) would get upset on repeated hits, even if it dealt with the first one ok… But really, i was most shocked by how much i had to slow down to prevent things getting out of control, or terrain that my modern bike would not even notice and just float across.
Of course, going a bit slower isn’t any less fun, and perhaps once you got used to it could be more fun, as you really have to ride the old stuff, as opposed to a bit more “point and squirt” these days!Posted 2 years ago
Not only is the new slacker bike way faster on downhills it is also faster on single track and even very slightly faster uphill.
So geometry, tyre width and probably your fitness are different as well as wheel size.Posted 2 years ago
The most common bike I saw today would have been full sus 26ers from circa 2010.Posted 2 years ago
I find it’s mostly bar width… My mate has a beaten up old specialized and it’s light enough but the bars are so short you feel like you’re going to topple over all the time with even a slight turn.
Of course bars can be too long but the skool narrow bars are frightening.Posted 2 years ago
Choosing the smoothest line is fast becoming a lost art. Modern bikes can make for lazier riding IMHO.
Having said that, they do increase the grin factor and decrease the sphincter clenching 😁Posted 2 years ago
I wanted a new bike with retro geometry, narrow bars and tyres etc, so bought a gravel bike.Posted 2 years ago
Was the wheel size the only difference?
No, the 26er was about 5lbs lighter, and FS so it should have been better. The 29er despite being fully rigid was much better on the rocky climbs. To be fair the 26er was still quicker on other climbs as you’d expect, but I had to have three goes on the 26er to even get up without dabbing. Every time I hit a rock I nearly stopped dead.Posted 2 years ago
How wide were the tyres?
How different were the seat angles?Posted 2 years ago
Wash yer mouth out, only pre-97 counts as retro 😉
Totally agree!Posted 2 years ago
How wide were the tyres?
How different were the seat angles?
Both similar. If you’re trying to persuade me that smaller wheels can roll over bumps the same as bigger ones you’re wasting your time as a bit if simple physics can demonstrate.
If you’re trying to persuade me that I’m not capable of an objective assessment of a bike then you’re also wasting your time and a bit mean also.
I jumped on the light racy 26er fully expecting to smash my times on the newly explored trail, and was very surprised when I was not only slower but I failed to clear the bottom section twice.
Are you saying 29ers aren’t faster than 26ers on rocky trails? Cos you’re definitely swimming against the current there.Posted 2 years ago
So geometry, tyre width and probably your fitness are different as well as wheel size.
Tyre width is same as used 2.4 on 26″ bike and fitness is different in that I am 5 years older and less fit than I was. You don’t get fitter once you get into your fifties I’m afraid (all things being equal)
While modern geometry clearly helps going downhill I am not so sure if it makes any difference on the flat, in fact it would be worse if anything as I am sat upright on new bike but had an almost road bike position on old bike.
Having been a weight weenie for a long time it is a surprise to me that I am now riding a noticeably heavy hardtail (13kg) yet enjoying it and posting my fastest times.Posted 2 years ago
Having been a weight weenie for a long time it is a surprise to me that I am now riding a noticeably heavy hardtail (13kg) yet enjoying it and posting my fastest times.
Dunno about faster (all round) but I’m definitely enjoying my Solaris a lot more than the last few bikes. Just got a dropper and its made me giggle non stop.Posted 2 years ago
Undamped suspension? What was up with it then (assuming you mean on rebound).
I’m with Brucewee on this to a degree – I’ve an old Coiler at my parent’s place, it’s still very confidence inspiring despite being too small for me. It does have a dropper, 180mm forks from 2012 (though very basic) and a decent shock on though. The main issue is it’s so high in the first place (and so much higher with those forks on) that it rides completely differently to my normal MTBs – well that and it’s too short for me. My 70yo dad rode a line he’s never tried before (ever) so it must be doing something right for him at least!
I guess it’s a bit atypical though in that the forks will have slackened it off (and made the shortness/BB height more of a contrast to be fair).Posted 2 years ago
Wait till we get hover bikes 🙂Posted 2 years ago
Does the qualification (let’s say it’s 1997) for retro status remain static then?
Not moving as time progresses like classic cars?
Either way, 10 years old isn’t retro now – but it will be in another 10 years IMO.Posted 2 years ago
If you tried a comparable bike like an old freeride bike you would probably have had a lot more fun and these do inspire confidence although no doubt they are not as good as modern bikes, just different.Posted 2 years ago
Just cleaned up an old steel trek to sell – damn it looks fast. I want to keep it, but i know I won’t use it!Posted 2 years ago
Either way, 10 years old isn’t retro now – but it will be in another 10 years IMO.
I don’t know. Only if pre ’97 Retro gets renamed as something else – like Classic or Nu Vintage.
My 1999 Dekerf wasn’t retro 10 years ago, and won’t be next year either when it’s 20 years old. It will still be brilliantly fun to ride though.Posted 2 years ago
I would say that 1999 is retro now. Good on you for still riding a bike of this age.Posted 2 years ago
Although earlier I said an older freeride bike will still give confidence it would not climb as well as a modern enduro bike for certain and will be quite a bit heavier too, so not a do it all bike like nowadays.
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